Running Contentment

Running Contentment

This week I wrote down the word “Contentment.”

Contentment is always a goal of mine. Sometimes I feel content with life and other times I feel like I’m flailing around like a fish out of water. I long for the times where I can just be.

I’m one of those people who is silently competitive. I like to raise more money than everybody else for my TeamRMHC races (yes, see sidebar for the link to donate). I like to be part of things that are just starting out (see twitter, ello, instagram). In high school I wanted to always win all the awards I could at dance team camp. I’m pretty good at quietly being competitive when it’s something I love. I like to be the best at things. It just feels good.

Lately I’ve felt very much NOT content with my running. I’m not getting faster, at least not a lot faster. It seems I’ve put on weight and allowed myself to get out of shape, causing me to huff and puff through a 1.5-2 mile run. In my head I’m better than that. In my head, it’s easy. In my heart, I want it to be easy. I want to be the best I can be. To be content.

red hare chase 5k

This morning, I ran with my running buddy and cheerleader, Sharon. We headed over to Cobb County and ran a 5k for beer while being chased by Red Hares.

It was a hard and hella hilly race, and my first race since March. Luckily, I hadn’t looked at the elevation chart beforehand because it was pretty much all uphill for the first 2 miles. And like I do, I kept apologizing to Sharon for being so slow. I think I heard her threaten to hit me if I said it again, but I get very self conscious because I’m slow. She runs 9 minute miles and I run 14-15 minute miles. But she reminded me that she WANTED to run with me so I shut up. We were doing it for fun and beer. That’s it. We weren’t out to win the race.

After we finished, drank our beer(s), ate our hot dogs and then stopped at Chick Fil A, I drove home where I immediately posted to a friend that I finished – that I’d had beer and that it was ok to have two before 9:30am because it’s game day and how it kicked my ass.

She responded with Congrats and that (ugh) I’ve inspired her to get back at it.

And that’s when I realized it. I kinda AM finding myself content with my running.

I run how I run.

Which is with arthritis, with big toes that don’t bend at all, and with about 50 extra pounds on me.

Every step is painful and make me question whether I’ve had my medicine or put enough topical pain reliever on my feet. But the good news is that after about 2 miles, the pain is so great I don’t really feel it. But every step is a chore.

But then there are those last 5 steps over the finish line. And they are absolutely worth it.

I’ve found intervals I love (1:30 run/:30 walk) and when I feel like it, I listen to my body. Sometimes it says run through the walk interval and sometimes it says, “Jana, you need to walk for 5 minutes or I’m going to give up.” I’ve learned to hear its cries, and to be honest, no matter what I do, I end up finishing in just about the same time.

I’m content with where I am, with how fast (slow) I run, with the aches and pains I feel and work through, and with the fact that even though I’ll never be THE BEST, I’m content to be MY BEST.

And that’s all I really need  to ever be.

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Today, Jason and I mark our 16th wedding anniversary. I know what you’re thinking… “She must’ve been 10 when she got married.” No, actually, I was 22 and three weeks out of college. A baby, yes. A child bride, not quite.

I look at Pinterest and see photo shoots my friends do of some amazing weddings, weddings I wish were mine. Oh, if I had it all to do over, I would do this, that and the other thing. 

No. Actually I wouldn’t change a thing.

It was a at the beach, a week after a tropical storm blew through. A destination wedding before destination weddings were cool.

It was the only off weekend for Auburn AND Georgia. And Georgia Tech was playing away. (Those are the most important details, y’all.)

The morning of the wedding, the hotel decided to lay new St. Augustine sod right in the area where the aisle was. Do you know how hard it is to walk on fresh sod?

I did my own flowers, except the bouquets and boutonnieres.

My cake decided to lean at a precarious angle, causing friends to dismantle it while we were taking pictures. I was hardheaded and refused to cut it before it was time in the pre-arranged schedule.

Everything didn’t go according to plan, but at the end of the night, after everybody else went to the Village to see The Outfield play a concert, we were married. Til death do us part.

Lighthouse Wedding

 

And to this day, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not about our wedding day, and not about our life together. Sure, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, but life isn’t always roses and sunshine. And it’s led us to where we are and led us to the life we’ve made.

We’ve defied the odds and laughed at statistics. People don’t survive things we’ve been through.

But we have. So far, we’re still standing.

Happy 16th Anniversary, Jason. Here’s to many more!

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.

Things are changing.

Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.

He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.

It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.

In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.

Growing up isn’t easy.

4thgrade

His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.

He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”

These changes are inevitable.

This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.

“I hope you have a great day, bud.”

“Ok, mom. You, too.”

“I’ll see you this afternoon.”

He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”

I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.

And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Football season is here. The countdown has been on since January 6 when Auburn and Florida State faced off in an amazing final BCS National Championship Game before the new Playoff system goes into play. As the clock ticks down and the very first college kickoff is within reach, or even on the same calendar page, plans start being made. Tailgates are planned. Trips to games are scheduled. The excitement builds!

Both of my grandmothers were big football fans. My Mimi (my Dad’s mom) was an NFL gal. Of course, she watched Auburn play, but her Sunday afternoons after my grandfather died were spent watching the NFL. I remember her talking about Refrigerator Perry, Joe Montana, Dan Marino… all those guys who were household names were burned into my brain after hearing her wool suit and pantyhose in all seasons wearing self yell at them on television.

My Grannie, though, she was a college football girl. My Grandaddy much preferred golf and baseball, played as background noise to naps, card games and the heat of summer. But my Grannie? Well, she wanted to watch a hard hitting football game, preferably Auburn, Georgia or Georgia Tech, any day of the week. Those were her grandkids’ alma maters and she did everything she could to support them. Up to and including missing the evening news on Channel 13 to watch a game well past midnight.

I couldn’t help but think about her this weekend.

This time last year we were with her in the ICU, wondering if and when she would recover from the stroke she had suffered on the first Saturday night of football season. She died a few short weeks later.

When I took my walk through her house a few months ago, I only got a few things. I got all the deviled egg dishes I could find, a desk, a few photo albums and a few kitchen items. But the one thing I cherish that sits on my desk is something most people would have thrown into the trash.

It’s my reminder: She had big plans on that Saturday night.

Her Last First Football Saturday

In the emergency room, while she was still able to help us piece together a timeline of when she suffered the strokes, we learned that she did watch the Auburn game and was excited that we won. We know she started the other two games and took her medicine at 10pm. We know she was very mad when we told her that Clemson had beaten Georgia.

She was excited about the start of football season — excited enough to have my aunt write down when and where to watch the important games — and I’m thankful she got to see and enjoy some of it. Getting excited about the start of certain seasons — whether it’s football, NASCAR, deer hunting, golf or hockey — is important. Being able to forward to enjoyable activities is really what life should be about.

This piece of paper is a good reminder to me.

This paper reminds me that she was excited about her evening activities. It reminds me that she always thought about her children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren) and knew that we loved these teams alongside her.

It reminds me that the majority of her last pre-stroke hours were enjoyable for her — spent celebrating her last first day of football season.

This Week In Numbers: The Medical Mystery Tour

5 – number of days this week Henry or I have seen a doctor

6 – number of waiting rooms I’ve waited in since Monday morning. Add the one on Friday and you get 7.

13 – number of days I’ve now been dealing with a rash of unknown origin or diagnosis.

5 – number of different diagnoses for the rash on my body. It’s been shingles, staph, a bug bite, a fungus, contact dermatitis…

7 – number of shots Henry had to drain what looked like aliens out of an infected boil

365,397 – times I wanted to die on Wednesday

28,967 – times I wet my pants while vomiting on Wednesday

28,967 – times I didn’t care about said wetting of pants because of the 365,397 times I wanted to die

6 – number of hours spent at the ER

3 – number of sticks it took for the nurse at the ER to run an IV

2 – number of bags of fluid shoved in my veins in the ER

0 – sadly, the number of bags of vodka shoved in my veins in the ER

2 – number of complete blood panels run on me

4 – number of prescriptions I’ve filled and tried

3 – number of people in this house who are dying for this week to be over

1 – number of biopsies done on said rash by the bitchy yankee PA who made me feel like an absolute asshole for not having changed ANYthing I’ve done for the last 2 weeks. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t switched shampoo, detergent, or soap in TWO WHOLE WEEKS. What?

1 – also the number of HOLES I now have on my rash on my stomach

12 – number of Krispy Kreme doughnuts I bought on my way home from the last doctor’s appointment today

**************

I’m fine. I’m alive. Henry’s fine. He’s alive. Nothing is horribly wrong with either of us. Just one of those weeks that started off at the tippy top of the hill and rooooooolllled down swiftly.

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